An article in a recent edition of the New York Times estimated that men shorter than six feet in height had a one in 1.2 million chance of playing in the National Basketball Association. My chances would improve more than 12-fold once I hit six feet. Of course, the tallest people have the best shot at playing pro basketball. Those seven feet or taller had a 1 in 7 chance of being in the NBA. None of this is surprising, though to see, the concrete numbers makes you feel a bit small (pun intended) when you are like me -- below six feet-- and you realize how the odds just don’t favor you. I never had a dream to play for the Knicks. I always thought I was more suited for the Mets, or even the Jets, But all of this statistical analysis of who makes it to the NBA made me wonder. What factors into one becoming a published writer?
I’m afraid there’s no reliable census data for this -- millions of people write books or for the media. Are they of a particular intelligence? Size? Age? Wealth? Race? There must be patterns here, but we know that so many different types of people can be writers, to the point we couldn’t really profile such a thing. Could you break down the motivations behind why one writes -- and link it to a degree, to the genres they write in? But that would call into play psychology, sociology, and so many other disciplines, to the point we would be drawing vague generalities about who writes and why.
Still, I wonder if one can draw a profile of a writer. I think the public impression of writers is lacking. People may think writers are smart, good with words, and determined. Those qualities seem positive and necessary. But it may not be that the majority of writers possess all three -- or even two of these attributes. Further, people may think writers are generally more voyeuristic than active in life’s affairs. People may assume writers are shy or quiet or even nerdy. Some certainly are. But I find many are not.
One trait I find among almost all of the authors that I meet is they are egotistical and jealous of other writers. They believe everyone should want to buy, read, and love their books. They think other writers’ works don’t warrant the media, accolades, or riches bestowed upon them.
Who would have thought that the most common link amongst writers would not be their intelligence, experience, interests, ideas, or fantasies, but their ego? I’m afraid it’s true. They are driven by many factors, from their upbringing to their mental state, and from their brains to their life-defining moments, but it’s their ego that above all else, draws the strongest bond to their fraternity.
Ego is not necessarily a bad thing. One has to have a sense of self, of pride, of ambition, of relevance, of importance, and of uniqueness. We all have some level of genius. But when we are lead by it, to the point it no longer pushes but blinds us, we have a problem.
Some authors are like play a HS-like playa-hating, teen-age girls who compete in a cut throat way for the affections of the star jock. These authors are the ones who look in the mirror and don’t even see a hair out of place.
You may almost have to play basketball if you’re seven feet tall, and if something wildly good or bad happens to you, a book is your calling. But for the vast majority of writers I think there is only one similar gene and that is the one dictating ego. However, if writers can learn to strike a balance between the ego that encourages them to push on in the face of adversity and the one that reassures them they are great when they haven’t yet put in the hard work to even be considered mediocre, they’d be moving in the right direction.
So what do you do if you’re tall and you have a fat ego? That’s a slam dunk. You play basketball, write about it, and then create a TV reality show about yourself.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013
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